Citation Disambiguation by Given Name

I have a comment/suggestion regarding how Zotero handles disambiguation of citations.

Currently, Zotero views "J.C. Smith" and "J. C. Smith" as two different given names. As such, the Word plugin will frequently create improper citations, e.g., (J.C. Smith, 1999) instead of the proper citation: (Smith, 1999).

Because I have a large library and this is frequently an issue, I've currently modified my citation sheet to not disambiguate citations by given name. However, there are times when doing so would be useful; e.g., (A.M. Smith, 1999) vs. (J.C. Smith, 1999).

It would be wonderful if Zotero realized that "J.C. Smith" and "J. C. Smith" represent the same given name when attempting to disambiguate citations. (It is clearly capable of doing so, because "Smith, J.C." is transformed into "Smith, J. C." in the exported reference list.)
  • It's tricky, though. It's, for example, not clear whether Zotero should treat John Smith and J. Smith as the same author, even if they'll appear (at least in APA) the same way. My take would be it shouldn't. That makes this a very difficult line to maneuver.
    I'm convinced the cleanest way to handle this is to clean-up authors and that should (and will) be made easier.
  • I agree with you that Zotero shouldn't assume that /^J\.$/ and /^J[a-z]+$/ are the same name.

    However, I think that's a slightly different issue from just comparing initials. I'm suggesting that Zotero merely clean up the initials (i.e., put them in a common format) before comparing them.

    This seems like it could potentially be an easy fix:
    1. Detect initials with a regular expression (e.g., /^([A-Z]\.? ?){1,2}$/i)
    2. If initials are detected, remove all space and periods before comparing them
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